Taking place in April of 1992, Son Shine, follows the story of 12 year old Hakeem Brown. On the heels of his thirteenth birthday, Hakeem is anxious to leave childhood behind and enter young adulthood. Known in his neighborhood as the “good kid,” Hakeem is a honor student, good brother to his younger sister, and an obedient son. However, things begin to change for Hakeem as he becomes aware of the political climate in his South Los Angeles Neighborhood during the announcement of the Rodney King verdict. Watching his neighborhood erupt into flames from his bedroom window, Hakeem disobeys his parents by joining the chaos of the riots. Now face to face with the realities of the uprising, Hakeem has to make the decision to be a part of the solution or to become a part of the problem.
Many people have asked me, “Why make a movie about the Los Angeles riots?” During my time at USC, I made a decision to tell stories from a personal perspective. Son Shine is the most personal film that I have written to date.
At first, I was worried that people would not understand the story. I thought that my professors would classify it as a “race film.” Over 50 films were submitted for thesis consideration at USC. Son Shine is one of the 12 selected. It was selected because there is a universal truth in the film, which is there comes a day when we realize that the world is not always fair and that bad things happen to good people. How we respond to these realizations is what shapes us.
I was 8 years old when my brother and I sat on our front porch and watched our South Los Angeles neighborhood burn in a gulf of flames. Although I was young, I vividly remember the pain I felt. I can recall the expression of worry on my mother’s face as she stood guard in our front yard with a running water hose, prepared to shield us from the nearby flames. I remember my elderly neighbors standing in the middle of the street, begging people to return to their homes. Despite my age, I was aware that something unfair had happened.
Suddenly, I had questions about my place in society. I wanted to know about race and why it mattered so much. That moment had a great impact on my life. It helped to shape my goals and dreams of telling stories about real people. Shortly before his passing, I had the opportunity to meet Rodney King and speak with him about Son Shine. I was blown away by his support of our story. It made me realize that this film is about more than the riots. It is about a community in transition. More than that, Son Shine is about my community, my people, and my home. With this film, I hope to make it proud.
This film cannot happen without your help. Please take a moment to view our indiegogo page HERE.
Raised in Los Angeles, California, Katrelle Kindred is currently completing her third year of graduate studies at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She completed her undergraduate studies at Clark Atlanta University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on Radio, Television, and Film production. Immediately before continuing her education at USC, Katrelle studied Social Justice Education at the University of California Los Angeles, which lead her to teach middle school English Language Arts to underprivileged children in Compton, California.
Teaching in inner-city schools inspired Katrelle to write stories giving voice to children who were neglected and mistreated by the education system. During this time, she wrote and directed, A Hard Road to Cross, a feature film which showcases her passion for children’s rights and social justice.
This passion lead her to produce the documentary film Color Blind: A Trans-racial Adoption Story.
Recently, Katrelle was a 2012 Subway Fresh Artist winner and a recipient of the Johnny Carson Fellowship for academic excellence and achievement at the University of Southern California.
In the future, Katrelle would like to continue creating stories that focus on the vast African American experience in contemporary America.